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Death of Jezebel (Inspector Cockrill #4)
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Buddy reads > Death of Jezebel: SPOILER Thread

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Susan | 10126 comments Mod
Published in 1948, this is the fourth in the Inspector Cockrill series and remains, sadly, long out of print in the UK.

It involves Isabel Drew, who had done her best in life to live up to her nickname, Jezebel. Sadly, someone believes her efforts insufficient and helps her off the balcony of a theater castle tower. It was a seemingly impossible crime; the culprit escapes detection even though the act is committed before 11 knights on horseback and an entire audience of witnesses.

For those of us who are reading a copy without the list of characters, I reproduce the names from my long sought for, hardback copy, below:

The Characters:
Johnny Wyse: who died; and to avenge whose death two of the folowing also died - and one was a murderer
Isabel Drew: a Jezebel
Edgar Port: just a sugar daddy
Earl Anderson: a 'poor player'
Brian Bryan: a knight in armour
Perpetua Kirk: a damsel in distress
George Exmouth: a very young young man
Susan Betchley: a not very young young lady

Please feel free to post spoilers in this thread.

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 2095 comments This was a disappointment. Although the setting was great, it was so repetitive. Just seemed to me that we kept going over the same thing time and time again. I do think that Brand produces the most unlikable characters, and I like some of the humour, and the solution was unexpected, but the slog to get there was hard work.

Elizabeth (Alaska) I had a hard time with the setting. I never did figure out what the Assembly Room was. And I didn't understand why a door could be bolted on either side.

I did decide who the murderer was, and then I changed my mind, so the mystery was a good one. But I'm with Jill that I didn't enjoy this as much as the earlier ones.

Susan | 10126 comments Mod
As I mentioned in another thread, I have always enjoyed this one - probably as I found it so hard to find! I do agree it is not one of her best, but I enjoyed the overlap of Charlesworth, who first appears in Death in High Heels: An Inspector Charlesworth Mystery Death in High Heels An Inspector Charlesworth Mystery (Book One) by Christianna Brand

Sandy | 2847 comments Mod
I haven't rated this yet. I definitely enjoyed the style and humor, but agree that we went through the pageant too many times. One important plot point was only known because a random friend of Cockrill happened to overhear a conversation between strangers and remembered a name. I'm glad the nooses were not used to pull the victim from the balcony as I couldn't see that working. So I enjoyed reading it but I'm glad it wasn't my first Brand.

Elizabeth (Alaska) Sandy wrote: "One important plot point was only known because a random friend of Cockrill happened to overhear a conversation between strangers and remembered a name. "

Yes, I thought this was far-fetched. Not that she just happened to overhear a name, but that she knew Cockrill would be interested.

Sandy | 2847 comments Mod
Elizabeth (Alaska) wrote: "Sandy wrote: "One important plot point was only known because a random friend of Cockrill happened to overhear a conversation between strangers and remembered a name. "

Yes, I thought this was far..."

And that she knew Cockrill, who is a stranger in London.

Susan | 10126 comments Mod
He does seem to pop up everywhere, doesn't he? People don't call the police, they call him.

Had anyone come across Charlesworth before? I love Death in High Heels, but it is very un-politically correct, so please don't even look at it, if you feel you will be offended - as you probably will be. It is set in a dress shop and I liked the setting and the way the models used to model the clothes personally, and the setting - which is now historic, really. I was astounded to find, for example, that there was a hot lunch provided for workers, in a shop which had very few staff, really. However, Brand does seem to consider that clothes designing where men is concerned, implies they are effeminate and all of the women seem to faint and collapse at the drop of a hat!

If anyone feels brave enough, I'd love to add it as a buddy after we have read the Cockrill books.

Elizabeth (Alaska) I didn't especially care for Charlesworth as a character.

message 10: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9075 comments Mod
I've finished this now and am hovering between 3 and 4 stars - I enjoyed it but did feel we went over who was riding which horse and whether the door was bolted, etc, etc, too many times!

I did enjoy the sheer number of red herrings. I fell for one of them, and for much of the book I thought that Susan Betchley was the twin and possibly a man (although it did also strike me that the twin could have been female!)

I was dismayed when we were first told that 3 of them were working together, and then that Peppy was the killer, after we had seen through her eyes while she was terrified and thinking it was George... but fortunately that turned out to be yet another of the almost endless red herrings.

message 11: by Judy (last edited Aug 23, 2020 01:58PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9075 comments Mod
On the random friend, Fran, a character from an earlier book, Heads You Lose - I was surprised to see her turning up and got distracted trying to remember the previous plot.

Bbut it hadn't struck me until reading the comments here just how unlikely it was for her to overhear the conversation at all! I do agree this is a weak bit of plotting.

message 12: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9075 comments Mod
This is an interesting blog review - I like her point about how serious issues are included, like the suffering of Port's wife in Malaya during the Japanese occupation.


Susan | 10126 comments Mod
I think that characters from different books do tend to turn up a little randomly and readers are expected to remember them :)

Thank you for posting the blog review. I know that Brand has her weaknesses, but I think I may be fond of her as she is one of the early GA authors I discovered when I started reading them and after I had exhausted Agatha Christie in the library.

The last time I took my children to the library, they were clearing lots of older books, which is a shame. I would never have stumbled across authors such as Brand, or even Somerset Maugham, had the library I visited as a child been much vaster than the modern, condensed versions that seem to survive where I live now. I couldn't have ordered them, as I never knew that such authors existed and tended to choose quite randomly!

Elizabeth (Alaska) Susan wrote: "I couldn't have ordered them, as I never knew that such authors existed and tended to choose quite randomly!"

This is what Goodreads has done for me. I've never had access to a truly big library, but I think that would not have mattered.

Susan | 10126 comments Mod
You make a good point, Elizabeth. The internet has changed things, to include online browsing. When I was young, there was no internet and so, for me, the library was really important for me. Children moving to adult fiction need to be able to explore and libraries are perfect for that. If you don't like something, you haven't spent anything, have you.

message 16: by Elizabeth (Alaska) (last edited Aug 24, 2020 09:10AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Elizabeth (Alaska) Susan, when I was young the personal computer had not been invented. I never learned how to browse in a library. My one experience of asking a librarian for help wasn't fruitful and I didn't ask again. It isn't as if I didn't explore, it's that I didn't even know what types of books appealed to me most. If you don't know what you're looking for, you won't find it.

EDIT: This sounds as if I didn't read. I did. It's that my reading wasn't as full and rich as it is now.

message 17: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 833 comments I'm also the product of good libraries both at school and locally: as a child I'd just try all the books whose titles attracted or intrigued me - as you say, there's no cost in trying. Also, there was no separation of 'literary' books from popular so I'd devour mysteries alongside classics without even understanding the concept of book snobbery.

Susan | 10126 comments Mod
This concept of not understanding book snobbery came up in the book memoir I just finished, Dear Reader: The Comfort and Joy of Books. The author, much like myself, simply read whatever attracted her and I was very much the same. I can't recall ever speaking to a librarian - the ones at the library we went to (a large, Victorian edifice, with a sweeping staircase) simply shushed you and stamped books viciously! It would never have occurred to me that you could ask them things, they were too forbidding :)

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